The teacher provides students with a list of starting resources—Web sites, magazine articles, and books. Students begin gathering evidence to answer the question, “What is the cause and source of Sally's illness?” In this use of the tool, the teacher asks the students to collect evidence before creating a claim. In other projects, students can start their use of the tool by creating a claim and then finding evidence to see if it is true.
The teacher demonstrates how to use the tool with evidence that has been pre-populated into the case. He double-clicks the item in the evidence bin and discusses the quality of evidence, reliability of the source, and the types of acceptable evidence. He then clicks the Rate the Evidence button and discusses the purpose of the rating and the rating rationale.
Together, he and his students create a rubric to help them evaluate the quality of the evidence. They decide on their own rating system:
The teacher then demonstrates how to create a new piece of evidence while the students provide suggestions for what to enter into the fields. The teacher shows that the evidence can be color-coded, if desired, to indicate some organizational meaning. He asks how they might choose to use the colors. One student says he would color all the evidence relating to a particular gas the same. Another student says that she would color by the type of evidence— one color for evidence relating to medical conditions and another for gas laws. The teacher tells them they can use the color-coding feature to choose whatever meaning is helpful to them.
Students then work in their teams to gather, discuss, create, and rate their evidence. The animated discussions let the teacher know that students are engaging in a productive exchange of ideas. He listens in as one team debates whether a source can be trusted. The students trade job assignments halfway through—one works in the tool workspace while the other looks for more evidence.